The 1994 Budget implemented an extensive reform of Vehicle Excise Duty, which will have far-reaching effects for emergency vehicles.

Emergency vehicles will come under a new definition that contains the following tax classes:


All are currently exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) except the Police. From the 1st July 1995 they will be subject to annual licensing. Current exempt licenses cannot be renewed when they expire, and new licenses will not be issued on an exempt basis. The license renewal reminder from the DVLA will include details of the new tax class and the VED payable on the vehicle.

All emergency vehicles will have to apply for a Road Fund License on an annual basis from July 1st 1995. On application they will have to provide the usual documentation such as insurance and Test certificates as do other applicants. The Road Fund Tax disc will carry a nil payment.

To comply with the definition of ambulance, a vehicle must be constructed for the purpose of the conveyance of recumbent persons in accordance with the Vehicle Excise Act 1971/72 section 4 and the Vehicle Construction Acts definition. Vehicles must have a rear compartment with a permanent means of conveying a person in a recumbent position, together with an attendant seat and the words Ambulance must be clearly signed on the front and sides of each vehicle.

Ambulances in the NHS, Private, Local Authority, Military and voluntary sectors that comply with this definition will be classed as emergency vehicles.

Vehicles that are not in compliance with the above will be re-classified as:

In addition, these vehicles will not be allowed to claim other exemptions that are allowed emergency vehicles.


The Medical (Professional Performance) Bill amends the provisions of the Medical Act (1983) and is due to receive the Royal Assent in the Autumn of 1995. The new Act will empower the General Medical Council to deal with doctors who have serious and chronic deficiency in standards of professional performance. In the past the General Medical Council has only been permitted to deal with allegations of serious professional misconduct.

The Act provides for retraining to be required for those practitioners found to be deficient in performance, and as a final, suspension from the Register. Practitioners who are not direct employees of an NHS Trust (General Practitioners and doctors in Private Practice) will have to find the cost of re-training themselves.

The Act will come into force when the Privy Council and Parliament have approved the regulations drafted by the Council to enforce the intentions of the Act. This is likely to be by the Spring of 1996.